Do I Really Need A Dental Filling?

truth about dental cavities and fillings

Are Fillings for Cavities Necessary?

Have you ever been told by a dentist that you have a cavity? Have been told by that same dentist that you need a dental filling? Have you ever wondered if they were actually telling you the truth?

Well, the truth is if you showed the cavity in question to a number of different dentists, some of them will diagnose the situation differently than others.  So, when you see a little niche on your x-ray residing in the enamel, but it’s not through the enamel, some dentists will say, “Well, this is decalcification and it needs to be filled.”

The way I was taught and what I believe in and what I’ve seen over the 38 years I’ve been practicing dentistry is if the niche in question in the x-ray does not look like it’s going through the enamel and it’s simply decalcification, then there’s potential for this little niche in your tooth to last for a long, long time remaining exactly the way it currently is. If you decide to go this route, be sure to floss regularly, use a fluoridated toothpaste and also remember to schedule a check up every 6 months or so to keep an eye on this cavity situation.

Another dental filling situation for you to get potentially taken advantage of by a less than honest dentist is to have the dentist diagnose a stain on the biting surface of the tooth as a cavity.  Beware, if this happens to you.  If your dentist cannot get his dental probe stuck in the supposed cavity, and you don’t see a shadow developing underneath the enamel of the tooth, the odds are pretty good that it’s exactly what it was the day the tooth came in your head, and you simply leave it alone.


Now, if the little niche is through the tooth’s enamel and because the Dentin in your teeth is only about a third of the hardness of the enamel, the cavity is going to spread out and it doesn’t much matter what you do because the recommended next step should always be a filling at this point. You simply have to plug that cavity.

To learn more about connecting with a conservative dentist in Ventura, CA and how to avoid more potential, unnecessary dental costs, visit Ventura Total Dentistry right now to get all your dental questions answered.

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Does Tooth Decay Really Affect Your Heart?

Happy Teeth Equals Happy HeartSo the question is, does tooth decay really affect your heart? And the answer is “no.”  But infection in the tissue or if tooth decay actually reaches the nerve of a tooth to the point that you now have a chronic or acute abscess, then in theory, you now have bacteria that’s circulating throughout your body that ultimately could lodge somewhere in your heart, specifically on a heart valve and cause damage that could ultimately either require surgery or conceivably cause death.

This type of severe reaction doesn’t happen too often, but it’s definitely something to be aware of.

The same concept can be applied to gum tissue.  If there’s chronic break down or chronic inflammation in the gum tissue, then bacteria now has the opportunity to begin circulating around the body. Once this happens, your immune system is now battling this bacteria (by itself), which can cause any number of problems throughout your body, including your heart.

Important to Note: People who have prosthetic hips or knees are more succeptable to infection caused by tooth decay. Bacteria can lodge in these vulnerable areas which can cause re-infection, or even loss of use of that prosthetic joint.

So remember the only way tooth decay can actually affect your heart and the other systems in your body is if the decay reaches the nerve of a tooth to the point that you now have a chronic or acute abscess.

The best way to avoid something like this is to consistently care for your teeth by brushing and flossing on a regular basis. This will prevent tooth decay from building up inside your mouth and keep you safe from any serious bacterial infections throughout your body.

If you’re in search for a quality dentist in Ventura, connect with Ventura Total Dentistry to set up an appointment today.

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How Does Your Dental Health Affect Your Overall Health?

Your mouth affects your health in a couple different ways. For instance, if you have discomfort in your mouth that makes it impossible for you to eat well,  then poor dental health will directly affect you nutritionally. On the other hand, let’s assume that you’re eating fine and everything feels fine, but you just don’t like the way that your teeth look, this could be a major self esteem issue that has you become the type of person that never smiles. So poor oral health may be something that affects you psychologically, and affects your overall happiness as a person.

Poor dental health, whether it be functionally or aesthetically, can affect you in many ways. Think about the number of people in this country that suffer from obesity, for example, and let’s assume that they are not able to eat real well. What do they do?

Typically they eat food that is easy to swallow and easy to digest, but are not necessarily the healthiest things to eat. In this particular case, those people suffering from poor dental health absolutely affects their inability to consistently eat healthy.

There are a lot of situations, a lot of medical situations that could occur because of infections in your mouth that can affect other parts of your body including your heart. So, your overall health can be affected dramatically from poor oral health.  Luckily, today, we don’t see too many individuals who suffer from really poor dental health, but this is why we advise coming in for a thorough dental exam routinely (every 6 months is best).

So in order to be sure your oral and dental health is where it needs to be on a consistent basis, do yourself a favor and visit your dentist for a routine dental exam every six months. You’ll be happy you did.

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How Often Should I Get X-Rays on My Teeth?

When it comes to how often you should get your teeth x-rayed, the bitewing x-ray schedule is a good guide to go by. Bitewing x-rays are taken approximately once a year.  These specific x-rays show between the teeth, which visually can’t be seen during a clinical exam.

Depending on the patient, the dentist will take a full series of x-rays, which show the full extent of the back teeth, including all the roots and all the anterior teeth.  In addition to those four bitewing x-rays, it is recommended to have a full series of x-rays approximately done every five to seven years.

If it’s a periodontal patient, where you’re not willing to let things go five years at a time because you’re checking the level and the contours of the bone, you may want to get a full set of x-rays every two or three years.  But, again, it depends on the patient.

With new patients, it is recommended to start out with a full set of x-rays so your have a good baseline of what has been happening in your mouth.  If you’ve had a full set of x-rays taken within the last year, then at that point, it might be okay to have just a set of bitewing x-rays taken.

Contact Ventura Total Dentistry to schedule a dental exam today.

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Why Your Teeth Changed Colors Over The Years

Different Tooth ColorsThe short answer as to why your teeth have changed colors over the years is because ‘you’re getting older.’ What happens over time is your tooth enamel absorbs inorganic stains and these are stains of everyday life. They could be from food. They could be from smoking. They could be from coffee or tea. Whatever you put in your mouth has the ability to be absorbed into the enamel and make that enamel darker.

Enamel is the only thing dentists can bleach. We cannot bleach cementum, and we cannot bleach dentin (the majority of the tooth’s underneath material). Dentin’s natural color is yellow and the enamel covering the dentin is anywhere from a fraction of a millimeter thick up to maybe as much as two millimeters thick which means some of that yellow tint may be seen through the enamel.

As the tooth gets older, the nerve will tend to recede and get smaller and smaller, and as it recedes, it lays down what’s called secondary dentin, which tends to be more yellow than primary dentin.

So your teeth are getting darker over time because of the combination of what the enamel has absorbed over time and the color of the dentin that lies underneath the enamel. This is why teeth whitening, or tooth bleaching, can be very effective. It bleaches out those stains that have been absorbed into the enamel, and you can basically return the color of the enamel back to what it was when you were a kid. In some cases, the teeth actually turn lighter than there were when you were a kid.

Learn more about Teeth Whitening.

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What’s Really Important When Visiting A Dental Office

Dental Office Visit TakeawayThe most important thing for you to take away when visiting a dental office is walking away with enough information to make the best next decision for your dental health.

Your dentist should provide you a clear understanding of the current situation of your oral health and if you find this difficult to understand with your current dentist, it may be in your best interest to find a new dentist that you can get on the same page with. Additionally, when leaving the dentist’s office, you want to understand what alternatives, restoratively and financially, that you currently have in your mouth and what the next steps are.

It is also very important to understand why a specific dental procedure should or should not be done along with what the exact advantages and disadvantages of each procedure.  Ideally, you want to walk out of your dental visit with as much information as possible, in order to make the right decision for you and your dental health.

If you are currently looking for a Dentist in Ventura, CA that you can trust to educate and inform you on what you’re options are and what needs to be done, Contact Ventura Total Dentistry to schedule your appointment today!

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The Single Greatest Reason People Do Not See the Dentist

The single greatest reason people do not see the dentist is Fear.  It’s fear of a lot of things. It’s fear that they’re going to feel something.  It’s fear tat they’re going to be uncomfortable.  It may be that they think that you can’t get them numb, and sometimes it’s simply fear of the expense. But, fear is the single greatest reason why you don’t see people walk into a dental office.

And sometimes it’s unrealistic fear.  It’s something that they’ve heard from somebody else, and they now magnify it in their head, and it’s not a realistic fear, but it’s… to them it’s the real thing.

So for situations like this, a great way to help these people get over their fear of the dentist is to simply educate these people on what their options are when it comes to their oral health and smile.

It is not uncommon to see on the first or even the second appointment with a patient being nothing more than talking with them, helping them understand the situation and proving to them that this dental thing does not have to be something that is going to be an uncomfortable situation.

Ventura Total Dentistry are general and cosmetic dentists who practice tooth conserving dentistry. They are located in Ventura, CA. Schedule your appointment today.

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